Like many people, Dragon Ball was my gateway into anime. It’s one of the biggest media properties on the planet and its hero, Son Goku, is one of the most recognisable characters in the world. The show launched a thousand tropes and memes that live strong to this day. But we’re not here to celebrate the men of Dragon Ball. No, we’re here to celebrate the women of the series.
Here is the Rice Digital Waifu Review of Dragon Ball.
Dragon Ball: The Waifu Review
Launch showed up early in Dragon Ball. In fact, her first appearance is only shortly after Krillin showed up on Roshi’s island to train. She starts off as a housekeeper and cook who turns into a violent bank robber whenever she sneezes. Launch has the dubious honour within the Dragon Ball universe of being so inconsequential that Akira Toriyama forgot she existed. Her only appearance in the Z portion of the story is an anime only cameo as a truck driver at the end of the Buu saga.
Mai is another character who showed up early in Dragon Ball only to disappear before the Saiyans showed their heads. She ran with self-proclaimed Emperor Pilaf’s crew and was the only one of the three who was even close to competent. She makes no appearance between the end of OG Dragon Ball and Super, though she does become a child due to a poorly worded wish on the dragon balls in the meantime.
Its during the Future Trunks arc in Super when Mai comes into her own as a character. Having naturally aged back up to human, she’s got two lifetimes of combat training under her belt, making her one of humanity’s best fighters. She is strong, heroic, and a believable love-interest to Future Trunks.
Like many of the characters, Chi Chi is introduced as a child. She promptly disappears for years, only to resurface to beat Goku until he remembers he promised to marry her. The scene where she is fighting him during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament is one of the best moments up to that point in the series. She is fierce and a competent fighter, having advanced to the quarter-finals of a field that included Yamcha, Krillin, and Kami (in disguise).
Its unfortunate that Chi Chi becomes a running joke among the cast for being a nagging wife once she has Gohan. For the rest of the series she is seen pestering her oldest son to study and her husband to get a job. Reasonable requests in the real world but unforgivable in the Dragon Ball universe. I would love an AU manga where she continued to train just has hard as Goku after having Gohan and remained a relevant force in the show after becoming a mama.
Videl is the last of the Dragon Ball waifus to be introduced, coming in during the criminally underrated Great Saiyaman saga. She is the daughter of Mr. Satan and an accomplished martial artist, having been recruited by the police to dish out some vigilante justice periodically. Over the course of the Buu saga, Videl masters the use of ki and manages to learn to fly. Her appearance causes debate amongst fans, with some preferring the pig-tail look and other preferring the short pixie cut look. Or you can be me and acknowledge the merits of both.
Like Chi Chi, however, Videl suffers from Toriyama’s disinterest in writing female characters. Once she gets married to Gohan and gets pregnant, she fades into obscurity, which is disappointing.
Bulma is the second character we meet in Dragon Ball, after Goku himself, and, for much of the series’ run, is one of the most important. She is the female version of Tony Stark without the pesky alcoholism or dead parents to bring down the mood. Not only is she smart, rich, and beautiful, she is also the only person in the universe strong enough to tame Vegeta and turn him into a reasonable parent and husband. Bulma is one of the best female characters in anime ever and has a rightful claim to the top spot in this list, though she is just beaten out by…
By the time Android 18 shows up, we’ve already had time travel show up and cause havoc with the plot. Initially a villain alongside her brother, Android 17, 18 serves as an unstoppable force for the heroes to overcome. Her looks catch the eye of Krillin, who spares her life when he could blow her up and who uses a wish from the dragon balls to remove the explosives within her. The two would eventually get married and have the closest thing to a stable and loving relationship of any of the main cast aside from maybe Gohan and Videl.
Android 18 sits in that sweet spot between hot and scary that so many of my favourite waifus occupy. Her tragic backstory of having been kidnapped and experimented on by Dr. Gero and her journey to overcome this to find a happy life and love is one of the highlights of the Super portion of the anime. The fact that she is a female fighter in a male-dominated show gives her just enough cred to pip some of the others on this list to the top spot in my ranking.
Do you agree with my rankings here? Got someone you’d like to throw in a different spot or someone else you’d like to include? Let us know on the usual channels below! And if you need to catch up on Dragon Ball Super, check it out on Crunchyroll!